Why Do We Always Have to be the Best First?

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I had an interesting conversation the other day with a dear friend about how life is long, and we need to do what we love at the pace we intrinsically know to do it. There is no need to rush to get our ideas out there first, or be the first to carry out a project. This is DEFINITELY something I struggle with, and am becoming more aware of recently. I feel like a failure if I have an idea I want to write about, but then notice someone else beats me to saying it first. I have this fear that if I still write what I want to say, it doesn't matter as much. I fear others will think I copied them. I get angry at myself for not getting it out sooner - like I won't be recognized for it. Writing this out, I realize how silly and ego based it is (believe me, I know this internally as well). I should be happy that there is a movement towards the things I value being shared by others. It means there is important work being done, and there is a shift occurring. It means the message is getting out to more and more people, and in turn helping improve so many lives. That said, we are not raised to work as a collective. We are taught to always strive to be the best, to stand out, to shine. Whether it's comparing grades in school, competing for jobs or trying to get companies to work with you, we are taught that there can only be so many who succeed, and the rest are failures. We are taught that there is only so much goodness, prestige or awards to go around. We learn that being the best is what matters.

Psychology fascinates me (obvi - it's at the root of everything I do). It astounds me how deeply we hold thoughts and values and how strongly they influence our life without us even realizing. The schemas we use to categorize and understand our world are imperceptible until we become aware of them. Even then, we can notice but still not heed them - we can continue living life as we have without recognizing the underlying issues driving us.

I think this as a lot to do with why I feel so burnt out at the moment. I can get caught up in the hustle to prove myself as worthy - as a business owner, writer, or person in general. I'm aware of this, but it doesn't stop the roots of these teachings from weaving their way into how my days play out. I don't want to judge myself or others for the work we are doing. We are all doing exactly what we are meant to in this moment. I want to celebrate the successes and learn from the misses, both mine and others, without tying it into my sense of worth. I want to shift from "me" to "we" and trust that there will still be room for me. There will still be abundance and happiness, even if I am not "first".

Image by Lauren Brooke Sanchez.